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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

France had   become mightier and  more   presump-
tuous   under   the   empire.,  and  the   thunder   of war,
though    distant,    was    heard in   the  ancient   Home.
Austria's   defeat   in   IS05   was  bad   enough,   arid   of
melancholy   import   to    every    German.       Italy   was
threatened    anew,    the   French    advanced    towards
ISTaples,  and though Koine's neutrality was for a time
respected,    its    speedy   destruction   was   anticipated.
Prussia was still   standing,    though in  a   lamentable
condition; it had  again   refrained  from the   general
combat.      It   accepted,  as   the   bribing   booty   from
France,     Hanover,    which   was then  again   secretly
offered to its former possessor, so that Prussia,   every-
where entangled, could no longer  avoid the  unequal
combat.     The ancient Prussian glory was destroyed at
a blow ; all  the bulwarks  of the kingdom  fell   into
the enemy's hand, and  only at the extreme points of
the   kingdom   so   much   self-consciousness  remained .
that the state fought for mere existence.     The govern-
ment tried to purchase peace at any price,   in  order
to   compensate for the loss of power  and greatness
by revival and encouragement of the  inner strength
of the nation.     It endeavoured, before all,  to acquire
the   means   of effecting this   internal   improvement,
which was to support the throne by means of all the
talent,   uprightness,    and   activity   -which   might   be
pressed into  the  service.     Humboldt watched  these
events anxiously, and patiently awaited their issues.
When at last peace was proclaimed, the happy life he
had till then led was embittered  by the degradation
of his country; even the  possessions   of individuals
•were   endangered,   and it  seems   that the castle of
Tegel had also "been  plundered during  these  years;
the   aspect   of affairs   in  the papal  dominions grew
more dangerous,  and Humboldt  determined to leave
Home and Ms family for  some  time,   and repair to
Germany on leave of absence.     After having spent
the   autumn   of   1808  in Albano, he left   Rome  in
October, not foreseeing then that he would not return.
He only  took his son Theodor with Mm,  probably